The Justice Department has denied pre-clearance for Texas’ Voter Identification law. The department says the law doesn’t stand up to the Voting Rights Act; meaning the state failed to prove the law has neither a discriminatory purpose nor effect.

The legislation was one of Gov. Rick Perry’s emergency items last legislative session. Democrats had argued that the law discriminated against minorities. Texas Democratic Party Spokeswoman Rebecca Acuna released this statement following the DOJ rejection:

“We’re pleased the DOJ slapped down the Republican voter-suppression legislation. This unnecessary law would have trampled on the constitutional right to cast a ballot for hundreds of thousands of Texans. It’s time the Attorney General moves forward and stops working to disenfranchise Texans. Republicans have wasted enough taxpayer dollars defending this voter suppression legislation.”

Linda Chavez with the Texas League of United Latin American Citizens says the DOJ’s decision cited the exact points she had argued when Texas lawmakers were drafting the law last year. One of those points is the added expense of obtaining another form of identification.

“If there’s no need, why go through the expense? It runs about $22,” Chavez said. “Twenty-two dollars can buy medications, put food on the table and that’s more important to a Hispanic family.”

Here’s the official response from the Texas ACLU:

Letter from the Dept. of Justice’s Civil Rights Division:

To view a copy of the letter sent by the Department of Justice, click here

“We are pleased that the Justice Department recognized the discriminatory nature of the Texas Photo Voter ID Law. The data clearly shows that Hispanic voters are more likely to lack the necessary documentation to vote, and this law has been characterized as a return to Jim Crow. This unconstitutional measure would have deprived the poor, the handicapped, the elderly, and many people of color of their right to vote. But, because it was written to particularly target Hispanics, this Juan Crow version is particularly malicious. We applaud the Justice Department for stepping in to ensure that the democratic process and the right to vote for all eligible voters is protected in Texas.”

Republicans are still fighting to get the law on the books. Attorney General Greg Abbott has already filed a lawsuit. There’s a status conference hearing in Washington, D.C., Wednesday. Rep. Patricia Harless, who was the House sponsor of the legislation, released this statement:

"I am disappointed that the Department of Justice did not approve our photo voter ID law." Harless added, "I am confident Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s legal action will result in full implementation of the photo voter ID law, ensuring that our elections are conducted fairly and without fraud."

Both Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst issued similar statements, saying that the law is accommodating, offering free ID to those in need.